April 30, 2007

Men’s Lax Wins Ivy Title Outright

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — It seemed like the only undergraduates at the Cornell-Brown lacrosse game were the players on the field. Amidst jovial insults tossed back and forth between the 100-plus boisterous Brown lacrosse alumni and parents present for Senior Day and the well-traveled Cornell parent and alumni contingency, Brown played inspired lacrosse, but still fell to Cornell, 11-8.
“Brown had a lot more emotion than we did, they played a lot harder,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni.
[img_assist|nid=23281|title=Super Seibald.|desc=Sophomore Max Seibald (42) holds off a Brown defender during Cornell’s 11-8 win Saturday.|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=69]
At the end of the day, however, it was an Ivy League title-clinching win that was the retaliation to Brown’s version of the Cornell Alma Matter — “Far above Cayuga’s waters, there is an awful smell …”
“At the end of the day, 60 minutes of lacrosse is over and we get a win, we’re 6-0 [in the Ivy League] so we can move on,” Tambroni said.
In similar fashion to last week, with the opposing defense concentrating on the Red’s (12-0, 6-0 Ivy) big guns in seniors David Mitchell and Eric Pittard, the Red created opportunities from the top of the key through the middies. Junior John Glynn spent the afternoon dodging from the elbows and finished with four points (three goals, one assist), while sophomore Max Seibald created from the point and matched Glynn’s four points on two goals and two assists.
From the opening face-off, it was clear that Brown (7-6, 1-4) intended to take its time on offense. Brown took the first possession of the game and spent two minutes patiently looking for an opportunity. Will Davis created that opportunity as he dodged past his Red defender and created some space to hit the running shot, putting the Bears up one. Davis’ goal, only a few minutes after he had been honored as a senior, sent the crowd and the player into an exuberant celebration.
Brown controlled the ball on the offensive end most of the first session. Cornell countered by pushing its defense out a bit and having its long-poles aggressively try to knock the ball out.
“We tried to push out a little bit,” Tambroni said. “I thought Brown did a good job of dictating the tempo there and being real patient. I thought we fell asleep a few times defensively off the ball, which was unfortunate, and Brown capitalized.”
“Like we always talk about, intelligent pressure was our key idea,” said senior co-captain Mitch Belisle. “I think we got away from that a little bit and started maybe throwing a little bit too much at them, and that caused us to have some breakdowns.”
Still, the Red, with all the offensive opportunities for Brown, only allowed two first-period goals. Cornell’s attack matched the output with two goals of its own, realizing early on where their opportunities were going to come against a stingy zone defense.
“They put a lot of emphasis on Pittard and [the midfielders] were just getting a lot of looks,” said junior John Glynn. “They zoned us up a lot so we were getting a lot of looks from about ten yards and out and we just tried to capitalize on that. I felt up top they were letting us shoot.”
The second quarter opened up with much of the same, but the Red loosened up a bit, got out in the open field, and created some chances in transition, netting them the next two goals. Sophomore Matt Moyer started the stanza off by picking up a ground ball after a scrum and streaked toward the goal, then dumping it off at the last minute to Pittard for an easy one-timer. As soon as the transition game looked like it was working, however, things shut down.
“I think they were very good about getting their guys back to play defense,” said senior Ethan Vedder. “Some teams would get their offensive players off and that kind of allows us more opportunity to get downfield. If we hustle, we can get down there as they’re trying to get off and Brown was very intelligent about getting back and making us work for our chances, and making us work on getting the ball to offensive players.”
With Cornell throwing the ball away on transition under duress a few times, Brown came storming back, tying it at 4 apiece. The Red went into the locker room with a slim, 5-4 lead.
Brown kept its momentum coming out of the intermission, netting the equalizer right off the bat.
“They had a lot of momentum to a couple of times so we wanted to take the air out of the ball,” Glynn said. “They were holding the ball out on us so offensively we wanted to slow it down and get our feet under us — just try to take some good shots.”
While Tambroni noted that he thought his players were trying to be too precise with their shots — the Red had only 11 goals on 42 total shots — Cornell made the plays when it needed to and took away Brown’s momentum. The offense answered with four straight tallies in four distinct ways to make it 9-5. Glynn scored off a typical shot from the elbow, Vedder went coast-to-coast on a transition attack to score, senior Henry Bartlett put in a deflection off the goalie, and Mitchell lined in an uncharacteristic shot from over 10 yards out.
Even when Brown stopped the run with a hustle goal off a scrum in front of the Red’s cage, Seibald came back with a statement goal, sending a frozen rope into and then through the top of the Brown goal. After breaking through the net, the ball continued to rise as it sailed toward the end line, sending the Red sideline into a frenzy.
From there on out, both teams slogged through offensive possessions, Brown still beating Cornell to the 50-50 balls, but the Red effectively slowing the pace down even more, taking only eight fourth-quarter shots.
“The bottom line is, you can use all the excuses you want, Brown out-hustled us today and it was disappointing that Brown outworked us on the ground,” Tambroni said. “But you know, we made plays against a good team, and we’re happy to come away with an 11-8 win at this point in the season.”